View Full Version : ProFootballFocus Three to Focus On - Texans@Bengals

12-09-2011, 06:49 PM
Three to Focus on: Texans @ Bengals, Week 14
December 9th, 2011 | Author: Nathan Jahnke

It feels like every year, the AFC playoffs consist of New England, New York, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Indianapolis and San Diego. We sometimes see some vaiance – the Chiefs winning the AFC West last year, or the Bengals making it the year before – but there just hasn’t been much room for change. This year, though, both Houston and Cincinnati are looking to crash the playoff party.

The obstacles for both teams, however, are looking a little more difficult than they did a month ago. Houston is down to their third string quarterback and Andre Johnson is out again. The Bengals simply haven’t been able to beat the elite teams in their division and are more desperate for a win with the home edge. All Houston has done is win despite the injuries to key players. This could be a potential playoff matchup if Houston gets the third seed and Cincinnati the sixth, so we could just be witnessing Round 1 this week.

Houston’s Duo of Backs vs. Bengals Run Defense

One thing that has stayed consistent during the Texans’ win streak is Arian Foster (+14.9) and his backup,Ben Tate (+8.3), provides a great option to spell him when needed. Over the last six games, the pair has had 208 runs for 1,002 yards (3 yards less than the Giants as a team), nine touchdowns, and have had 31 players miss tackles on them. With the Texans down to their third string quarterback, and Andre Johnson injured again, we should see the Texans choosing to utilize the run even more.

When you look at the Cincinnati defense, you don’t really see a weakness in the run game outside of strong safety Chris Crocker (-7.3), but there also is no outstanding player. Over the last three weeks, they have allowed running backs to run for 4.3 yards per carry, with 3.0 of them coming after contact. The Bengals know that Houston will be running the ball all day in order to protect T.J. Yates in his first NFL road start. The question becomes: whether or not that knowledge is enough to stop Foster and Tate as their tackle-breaking wyas match-up favorably with the Bengals’ defense’s yards after contact tendencies.

Texans Johnathan Joseph vs. His Former Team

One of the many storylines during the short offseason was the Texans decision to pursue Johnathan Joseph (+11.8) instead of Nnamdi Asomugha(-9.4) at cornerback, while the Bengals thought they would be able to bring Joseph back. The Texans are looking like geniuses with how well Joseph has played compared to Asomugha and the fact that they have paid him less only adds to it. Over the past three games Joseph has allowed just five of the 14 passes thrown his way to be caught for 79 yards, with only 11 of them coming after contact. He also has an interception and two passes defended compared to zero touchdowns allowed in this span.

At times he stays on the left side, but in other games he follows the opponent’s best receiver as he did last week in shutting down Roddy White. If I had to guess, I would say he follows A.J. Green (+7.6 receiving) who is having a monster year as a rookie. He’s had a touchdown in seven of his 11 games, and at least 80 yards in six. This is a matchup between two great players, with extra motivation as the team wants to get the best of their former player, while the player wants to get the best of his former team.

Houston’s Interior Linemen vs. Bengals Geno Atkins

The Bengals have only had two pass-rushing threats all year; Carlos Dunlap (+28.3) at defensive end and Geno Atkins (+21.3) at defensive tackle. Dunlap has only played in one of the last four games in limited time due to a hamstring issue and is still not practicing. If the Bengals want to get to Yates (-0.9), Atkins is their best bet. In his last four games, he’s had three sacks, six hits and seven pressures, and in that time, he’s accounted for nearly 30% of the team’s pressure.

Atkins plays 55.5% of the time on the left side and 44.5% on the right, so he will get a chance to face all three of the Texans’ interior linemen. Left guard Wade Smith (-3.0 pass block), center Chris Myers (+2.1 pass block), and right guard Mike Brisiel (+2.5 pass block) look to be up to the challenge. Smith’s rating is misleading, as nine of the 19 overall pressures he’s given up, including four of the five hits/sacks came against the Week 5 game against the Raiders, and one poor game shouldn’t define a player. Myers and Brisiel have just allowed one sack and two hits each, so it’s unlikely Atkins will get to Yates often. If the Texans can shut him down, then Yates could have the time to make more plays – or at least show if he’s able to.


12-09-2011, 06:59 PM

12-10-2011, 02:08 AM
Thanks for posting!

12-10-2011, 02:17 AM
Yates is a -.9. ???

I don't think I understand that.

12-10-2011, 02:38 AM
Yates is a -.9. ???

I don't think I understand that.

Hell, if you understand what any of those numbers indicate, PLEASE explain them to me. Once I get past positive number = good; negative = bad, I'm lost.

12-10-2011, 06:51 AM
Hell, if you understand what any of those numbers indicate, PLEASE explain them to me. Once I get past positive number = good; negative = bad, I'm lost.

On their own, the number doesn't mean much. You have to look at the numbers of like players & compare them.

You know the NFL will "grade" players on individual stats (tackles, INTs, yards, completion) without taking into account the situation. ProFootballFocus grades each individual player on each individual play with consideration to the situation the player is in.

Their ratings (grades) are more like the grades individual players get by coaches & scouts that determine where the player is drafted, or seated on the depth chart.

Just looking at that grade (-0.9) tells me the kid wasn't perfect. But he wasn't horrible. Only because I've seen other QB grades in other articles.